Brand Identity.   Communicate authentically.
We’ve been in the branding business since we opened our doors in 1995, helping companies define (and refine) how they present themselves to and communicate with the world. Thoughtful, strategic brand identities are at the core of everything we do. Get to know our branding philosophy and our process, and work with us on your next branding project.
What is a brand?
Let’s start with what a brand is not.
- A brand is not a name.
- A brand is not a logo or a typeface.
- A brand is not a company (and a company is not a brand).
- A brand is not a product, although offering a valuable product will help build a strong brand.
- A brand is not a company’s culture.
- A brand is not a marketing plan, although articulating a company’s brand is an important part of any marketing strategy.
Your company’s brand is its identity. And like the identities of people, each one is unique and some are delightfully odd.
We believe that a good brand has two distinct parts: a vision and a voice. When you work with us to create or refresh your brand identity, our discovery process will revolve around defining these two crucial elements.
Every brand has a vision.
Your vision is who you are — the beliefs that drive you, that guide your choices. It can also be described as where you’re going — think of it like your company’s true north. Your vision encompasses the collective character traits that forced your company into existence by demanding that something be done with all this energy.
Every brand has a voice.
Your voice is informed by your vision. It’s how you talk about your company, both internally and externally, and it’s how your company talks to customers. Are you casual or buttoned-up? Energetic or low-key? Earnest or sarcastic? More important than anything is that your voice is authentic, which is why it’s worth digging into your brand identity to ensure that the tone you strike feels right.
Trekk’s branding process
It all starts with discovery.
We start every new client relationship, whether it involves a rebrand or not, with a discovery session. For those who suspect a rebrand is likely in the works, we may combine our discovery workshop with our brand workshop. And depending on each client’s unique needs, we may hold sessions over multiple days. Our philosophy is that the workshop should be tailored to fit the client, not the other way around. For an idea of what a brand workshop might entail, check out How to Run a Brand Workshop.
Discovery almost always involves a content audit — a deep dive into a client’s existing messaging, assets, and collateral to determine what’s working and what’s not. And at the end of the discovery process, we’ll deliver our proposed strategy.
The results of our discovery may be surprising. We’ve had clients who were positive they needed a rebrand but turned out to simply need a lead generation program. We’ve had clients come to us for event marketing and realize through the discovery process that a rebrand was in order. This is why we take the time up front to diagnose before diving into a program — it ensures we’re solving the right problem.
Then comes the workshop.
This is where the real fun begins. Our brand workshop is an interactive, collaborative experience that usually involves multiple stakeholders from a client’s team, everyone from the CEO to the copywriters and designers who will execute on the final brand guidelines. Naturally, teams often have strong emotions tied to their existing brands, so our process is designed to take into account the history of the existing brand and the strengths that have carried it this far.
The brand workshop incorporates findings from our stakeholder interviews and focus groups, as well as our own market and competitive research. We take these findings and we do exactly what a workshop is meant to do — we workshop them. We discuss them, distill them down, create from them new understandings that will help to define the new brand. Things might seem messier before they fall into order, and that’s how it should be.
Brand workshop participants should expect hands-on activities, questions, and group discussions.
Our strategizers strategize.
Following a brand workshop, the Trekk team synthesizes all that we’ve discovered and sets out to create a map. Depending on the scope of the rebrand (is there a new website involved, a rebranded event to be produced, a mobile app to be developed?) this map may come in a variety of forms. Most often, it’s a marketing communications plan — our recommended strategy for implementing your new brand across multiple channels, complete with suggested metrics of success. If there are technical components, we’ll include technical requirements. If there is content to be developed, we’ll include sample content or an editorial calendar.
Our designers, developers, and writers get creative.
Once we’ve got a strategy, we turn ideas into reality.
Our designers and content creators present two to three messaging and design concepts with the aim of capturing your vision and your voice. We’ll show you logos, imagery, fonts, and mood boards to help you understand our vision for your brand, and you choose the one that resonates. We may collaboratively refine the concept at this point, so expect some iteration.
This process culminates in the creation of the brand guide. Also known as a brand manifesto or a brand book, this one document covers everything your team and vendors need to know in order to create content that is consistent with your new brand.
Along with the brand guide, we’ll deliver the assets you need to execute on your new brand — visual assets like logos, images, and videos, as well as the cornerstones of your content, building blocks you can use to express your brand on your website, on social media, and in print.
The entire branding process can take two or more months, depending on the scope of the project. Take a look at our own rebrand timeline to get a better idea of the steps involved.
Maintaining a strong brand.
What makes a strong brand?
Most strong brands have at their foundation a product or service that meets a need. Some might argue that brand loyalty can make up for a subpar offering, but we all know that even the best marketing can’t keep a failing company afloat for long. The good news is that if there are flaws in a company’s offerings or business model, a good brand workshop will usually reveal them. In fact, thanks to our deep discovery process, most of our clients leave their brand workshops with both a new brand guide and a few actionable ways to better serve their customers.
Telling your brand’s story.
Beyond meeting its customers needs, a strong brand knows how to position itself.
As humans, we crave stories. It’s why we tell the same ones over and over. And when a brand can use story to connect with us, we create stronger bonds. Think of the way Airbnb employs stories about home, sharing, and human connection to persuade people to consider a stranger’s apartment over a hotel. Narrative is powerful.
Crystallizing your organization’s vision and voice makes storytelling easier — and having some experienced content creators on your team doesn’t hurt either.
Building brand awareness.
If you have a strong brand in a forest and no one is around to experience it, do you have a strong brand? Identifying your organization’s vision and voice is key, but the next step is expressing that vision and voice consistently.
We always suggest our clients take a multi-channel approach to brand awareness. This means using a combination of web development, digital content marketing, print, video, social media, events, and even mobile apps to get the brand before the eyes of its target audience. The strategy depends on the brand, but we’ve employed everything from employee brand ambassadors to virtual reality experiences to get our clients’ brands out there.
Building brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty campaigns are some of our favorite campaigns to work on, because they’re all about customer care. How do you convince the customers who’ve already given you a first chance to keep coming back — and to fall for you more every time? Every interaction a customer has with a brand is a chance to build (or lose) brand loyalty, and this doesn’t just mean transactional interactions. It means every time a customer sees a post by or about your brand on social media, it means every time you send an email. No interaction is a throwaway in the world of brand building, which is why we make sure to focus on the details in our marketing strategies.
Rebrands and Brand Refreshes
We provide a whole range of brand identity services, from the creation of a new brand identity from scratch to complete rebrands. Somewhere in the middle lies the brand refresh — not necessarily an overhaul of messaging but a visual touch-up. A refresh is right for organizations that have a solid understanding of their vision and voice but need an updated look.